Thursday, November 27, 2008

Draud asks Districts to Plan for 4% Cut

I had a great off-the-record chat with Education Commissioner Jon Draud yesterday. Draud was chipper despite a recent health scare and increasingly bad budget news for Kentucky schools.

The state budget director has asked Draud to submit a plan to meet a $132 million cut (4%), as well as a description of the impact of the cuts on the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky's school districts. This cut's gonna hurt.

It must be particularly frustrating for Draud who sought the Commissioner's position to advance Kentucky schools only to be thwarted by worsening economic conditions.

How districts attack their budget problems will vary but the principle ought to be the same for every district - don't cut programs that touch children. That may be impossible for many districts to avoid. But if decisions must be made between programs then - cut support programs before cutting direct instructional programs.

For example, (and I'm not making a specific suggestion here) if a district had to choose between classroom teachers and, say, a Family Resource Center - the center's gotta go.

This from the Herald-Leader:
State Education Commissioner Jon Draud Wednesday gave Kentucky's public school superintendents until noon Dec. 3 to report how a 4 percent budget cut would affect operations in their districts.

Draud said the cuts could be "devastating" for many districts.

He said he will use the district reports in preparing the education department's plan for achieving a 4 percent across-the-board budget cut as Gov. Steve Beshear has requested.

Beshear said Tuesday that he wants such reports from all state agencies and public universities by Dec. 5 to counter a growing revenue shortfall.

State budget cuts would be "nothing but bad news for Kentucky kids," said Robert Sexton, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

He said the timing is especially bad because school budget already have been weakened by earlier cuts.

"This cut will be the hardest of all because school budgets have been cut down to bare minimum in previous years," Sexton said...

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